Gentle wife beating is not violence: Pakistan Islamic council's clarification creates uproar
Pakistanis are outraged by the proposals of the Council of Islamic Ideology to ban music, dance, art, co-education and social interaction of women
"Gentle beating of the wife cannot be termed as a violence", Pakistan’s top constitutional body on Islamic matters have said.
"Do not try to relate our proposal (on beating women) with violence. Light beating does not mean violence," Maulana Muhammad Khan Sherani , chairman of the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) said at a news conference in Islamabad.
“The issue has been blown out of proportion. Everyone condemns violence. People need to be educated to stay away from violence,” the Maulana was quoted as saying by Express Tribune.
The clarification came after the CII's proposals on "model" women protection Bill sparked outrage across Pakistan.
“A husband should be allowed to lightly beat his wife if she defies his commands and refuses to dress up as per his desires; turns down demand of intercourse without any religious excuse or does not take bath after intercourse or menstrual periods,” the CII's draft proposals cited by news outlets said.
The "model Bill" proposed by the constitutional body which claims to empower women, however prohibits them from interacting with men at work places and recreational spots. It also limits them from receiving foreign officials and state guests. It also prohibits a woman from adopting contraception without her husband's consent. The Bill also proposes to "ban music, dance and sculptures created in the name of art," the Karachi headquartered Express Tribune said.
The CII had earlier rejected legislations passed by the Assemblies of eastern Punjab and north-western Khyber Pakthunkhwa provinces. The council had termed these Bills as "unIslamic and framed the "model Bill" with some 163 clauses.
Proposals in the CII’s “Model Bill”
Education and Work
- Ban on co-education after primary school
- Co-education past the primary level may be permitted if hijab is made mandatory and free mingling between genders is prohibited
- A ban on women working in 'vulgar' advertisements
- Female nurses should not attend to male patients
- Women should not be forced into difficult, 'labour-intensive' work
- A husband may, when needed, lightly beat his wife
- Three consecutive declarations of divorce will be punishable
- A guardian’s permission is not required for a woman who has reached maturity to contract a nikah
- A wife has the right to khula (divorce) if she forfeits alimony
- A wife may move the court in case of 'excesses' by husband
- Offering a women in marriage for resolution of disputes is punishable
- Contracting a woman’s marriage to a Quran will be a crime carrying a ten-year sentence
- Ban on the request and display of dowry
- Mothers must breastfeed for two years
- Ban on advertisements baby formula/substitutes for breast milk
- A woman cannot use contraception without the husband’s consent
- Abortion after 120 days will be classified as murder
- Women will be permitted to participate in politics
- Women should not participate in combat missions
- It is forbidden to kill a woman in war
- Women may become judges
- Women will not be permitted to receive foreign officials and state guests
- Forcing any woman to convert carries a three-year prison sentence
- A woman cannot be killed/executed for 'leaving Islam'
- A woman of sound mind is permitted to convert to Islam
- Acid attacks and violent acts against women such as throwing acid on women should be thoroughly investigated
- Ban on honour killing, Karo kari, and siyah kari
Courtesy: The Dawn
The proposals have been has now been slammed by the civil society and politicians.
"Through their proposed recommendations they have reflected their mindset,” Raheela Khadim, chairperson of the Punjab Assembly’s standing committee on gender said.
Khadim also called for a review of the legal space in which the CII operated.
“We are talking about holding wife beaters accountable and they are proposing something in complete contrast” she said.
The mandate of the CII is to Islamise Pakistan's laws and advice the parliament and the government on Islamic matters.
Civil society activists had earlier pressed the council to amend the country's notorius blasphemy laws and punish those who invoke the law to settle personal scores. The strict law has been misused often to intimidate religious minorities, liberal politicians, media persons and social activists.
The CII had also ruled against DNA tests in determining rape. The members have rooted for the continuation of the present Shariah law, which requires four adults to testify that the victim has been raped.
CII's retrograde proposals and the foot in the mouth clarifications which followed have enraged Pakistanis. Most took to social media to vent their ire.
The Dawn, while stating that "wife beating" was bad, whether gentle or hard, has stringed together a few things that Pakistanis could beat, if at all there is an urge.
1) An egg
2) The end of a ketchup bottle
3) Particularly frozen ice trays
4) A dirty carpet
5) Crumbs from your bed
6) The podium, if you're a frustrated lawmaker
7) A remote control
8) Beat it like MJ
Graphics Courtesy : dawn.com